Reflecting on: Who Are the Best Catalysts?

From: “Hoping a new believer or group of new believers will initiate a movement.”
To: “Asking: What national believers who have been followers for many years might become the catalyst(s) for a CPM?”

This relates to the common idea that we as a culturally distant outsider will find and win a lost person(s) who will become the movement catalyst. While this can occasionally happen, the vast majority of movements are started by cultural insiders or near neighbors who have been believers for several or even many years. Their own mindset shifts and fresh understanding of CPM principles open up new possibilities for Kingdom expansion. (Copied from: https://2414now.net/2020/09/22/mindshifts-in-movements-part-1/)

When I shared this list with a friend who is a catalyst in the Middle, he shared:

“I find the last mind-shift something I still go back and forth on. On one hand, I agree with the fact that it is much easier for an insider to start a movement among his own people and those within in the church tend to be better insiders. On the other hand, I often have failed by identifying the wrong insiders who I end up fighting about DNA issues of multiplication and best practices when I initially thought we had traction (sometimes years into the work). Whereas, with those I led to faith as the outside missionary, I got to build the DNA from scratch and didn’t have to fight with the ghost of past tendencies. Since I was this person’s only spiritual father, whatever I modeled for them was the only way and was gold. Whereas, training existing believers sometimes DMM later on the line can be a fad that they move on from. Just some thoughts…. I have trained insider older believers who have worked well!!!!! However, my greatest experience of multiplication has been from new believers that didn’t know anything else!”

I appreciate my friend’s response, because it well illustrates the point Stan and Elizabeth made in the original post at the 24:14 site listed above. Helping long-time believers become DMM catalysts can be slow, tedious and is fraught with great risks. I often compare it to the challenge of buying an old home in a historic district, moving your family into the structure and then starting a massive remodel, while you continue to live there! Deconstruction is absolutely necessary. But it is even harder when that house has been in your family for generations.

My friend in the Middle East had lived there long enough that he speaks the language fluently, understands the culture deeply (he married a woman from his adopted nation) and has made numerous contacts through his side business. His experience is the exception, rather than the rule. Just as it takes listening to God, great wisdom and experience to identify Persons of Peace, it takes the same to identify and help potential Multipliers transition from Addition Paradigms toward implementing true Multiplication mind shifts.

[NOTE: I reserve the phrase Person of Peace for a lost person who will open his/her family/friends to a disciple maker. I suggest we use the term Multiplier to refer to someone who is already a believer who takes up this hard work of Deconstruction/ Reconstruction and begins to actively search for Persons of Peace within their own people group or a near people group. Yes, this is a special category of people, but they are different from the kinds of people Jesus sent the 12 and the 72 looking for in Matthew 10 and Luke 10 respectively.]

Reflecting on: “Barnabas” Encouraging Others

From: “The outside missionary is a “Paul,” preaching on the front lines among the unreached.”
To: “The outsider is far more effective as a “Barnabas,” discovering, encouraging and empowering a nearer-culture “Paul.””

People sent out as missionaries have often been encouraged to view themselves as the front-line worker, modeled after the Apostle Paul. We now realize that the far outsider can instead have the greatest impact by finding and partnering with cultural insiders or near neighbors who become the “Pauls” for their communities.

Note first that Barnabas was also a leader who “did the work” (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1-7). So movement catalysts need to first gain experience making disciples in their own culture and then work cross-culturally to find those “Pauls” from the focus culture whom they can encourage and empower.

Second, even these “Pauls” have to adjust their paradigms. The outside catalysts of a large movement in India studied Barnabas’ life to better understand their role. They then studied the passages with the initial “Pauls” of this movement. Those Paul-type leaders in turn realized that contrary to their cultural patterns (that the initial leader is always preeminent), they in turn wanted to become like Barnabas and empower those they discipled, to have an even greater impact. (Copied from: https://2414now.net/2020/09/22/mindshifts-in-movements-part-1/)

How much do you love the preeminence? Do you seek the limelight? Do you live for accolades?

Years ago I was in Spain doing some training. The wife of our host asked me a strange question: “Do you miss the spot-light?” I had just told her that I had been a Preacher for 31 years, prior to transitioning to my work with Final Command a few months earlier.

My surprise at her question was only surpassed by my honest answer, “No.” What had replaced my desire to be appreciated or applauded for a good sermon? Watching someone I was training and coaching becoming a Disciple Maker was giving me much greater joy.

Luke 10:21 says, At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. What gave Jesus overflowing joy? Listening to the 72 telling about their success in finding Persons of Peace! Hearing them share stories of people who would be open to the King’s arrival into their communities.

While we cannot know for sure, it is possible these seventy-two others (Luke 10:1) were from the earlier ministry of the twelve when they were sent out imitating Jesus’ ministry of peace (Luke 9:1-2). Jesus does all the ministry in the first eight chapters of Luke. In chapter nine he sends out the twelve. Next in Luke 10 is this section on seventy-two others who become the ones he later calls little children. Recognize that you do not have to be part of the twelve to be sent out on a Jesus mission.

Maybe God has a bigger role for you than you can imagine. But maybe he wants that to come to pass through other people you can disciple, rather than through you personally doing most of the frontline work. Movements require many “daughters and sons of encouragement!” [NOTE: We often forget that “Barnabas” was actually a nickname for a man whose given name was Joseph (Acts 4:36). The nickname is used so often many of us never really learn his given name! Could this become your new nickname!]

Reflecting on: Setting the Stage for Multiplication

From: “My ministry is measured by my fruitfulness.”
To: “Are we faithfully setting the stage for multiplication (which may or may not happen during our ministry)?”

Growth is God’s responsibility (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Sometimes attempting to catalyze the first multiplying churches can take quite a few years. Field workers are told, “Only God can produce fruitfulness. Your job is to be faithful and obedient while expecting God to work.” We do our best to follow patterns of disciple-making multiplication found in the New Testament, and we trust the Holy Spirit to bring the growth. (Copied from: https://2414now.net/2020/09/22/mindshifts-in-movements-part-1/)

What if it takes someone besides you? What if it takes someone besides your team? What if you will not live to see the fruit multiplying? Would you still set the stage for multiplication? Abraham was promised offspring as numerous as the stars in the night sky or the sand on a seashore. Would he believe the promise of the one who first imagined multiplication–especially when his wife was barren? That was his crisis of faith. What is yours?

It was fifteen years ago, last month that I first imagined what a DMM in Middle Tennessee might look like. I gathered many groups and tried to use the breakthrough stories from India and Africa to plant a seed of possibility. Every effort crashed on a barrier reef. This morning I saw a new possibility of hope seated in a room. If God blesses that group with multiplication my role will be no more than a small footnote. At one level I am honestly sad at that thought. But God’s glory is a far more significant concern.

If you want to catalyze Movements you have to be good with the role of John the Baptist or Barnabas. Yes, Jesus is the Greater One! Yes, Paul gets more of the limelight, but even he reminds us that the Jesus way is the path of emptying self. Pride will get in the way of multiplication, every time.